by Christian Duque
The world of bodybuilding and fitness has come to life since Hunter Labrada started his bodybuilding journey. It became clear very early on that this was not a fad for the youngster – he was ready to follow in his father’s footsteps. Lee Labrada has inspired generations with his structurally perfect, symmetrical and flawless physique. He has always said that posturing is art and that this feeling now appeals to everyone, from top athletes to coaches around the world.
It’s one thing to have the best body on stage, but it’s quite another to successfully present it to the judges. Lee not only posed to the judges, but also had a real entertainment value that worked excellently for both the media and the fans. Many top people just go through the movements today, but they don’t really entertain anyone. The fans really miss the times when bodybuilding brought the audience to life
Hunter Labrada had the best role model he could learn from throughout his life. Like other legacies (e.g. Sergio Oliva Jr.), Hunter cut out his work for him. While many believe that his last name automatically opens doors for him and that he works with his father’s supplement company, the reality is completely different from what the eye sees. Legacies have a harder time than anyone else because fans always associate them with their legendary parents. Take this article for example, I couldn’t help but write two sentences about Lee in the first paragraph of an article about Hunter. While following the example of his father, the young Labrada is already getting his money’s worth and will undoubtedly be a first-class bodybuilder. Hunter has the genetics for bodybuilding, he has shown everyone that his heart is in the game, and as he prepares to go on stage at the IFBB Pro League Tampa Pro 2020, he knows what it takes to do well become.
2020 was a very bizarre year to say the least. The show’s postponements and cancellations, which deal exclusively with local and state administration, have put many of the best in our sport out of action. Since the gyms are closed for months and many preparations have been put on hold, a lot of competitors have decided to completely suspend 2020. That being said, if life gives you lemons, some people make lemonade, and that’s what Hunter did.
The young bodybuilder completely changed his build when he won the NPC Nationals in MIami, FL in 2018. I was there and was allowed to interview him. He looked fantastic there, but he could change his look and reinvent himself to be more competitive at the pro level. A few days ago, together with his father, he released a killer video in which he weighed 263 pounds and fasted. This is just crazy! The fact that he’ll be on stage in Tampa with 12 to 15 pounds of extra muscle mass speaks volumes about what he can do as a professional in the years to come. At the moment the focus is on a solid pro debut. Every professional only gets one pro debut in their career, so it’s important to really start the next phase of your career.
It is also a very old school that Hunter took time between his professional appearance and his pro debut. At first, I think he had planned to compete in the New York Pro, the third largest competition in the IFBB Pro League, but was unable to do so due to postponements. Still, the choice of Tampa will be as much a struggle as EVERYONE seems to throw his hat in the ring. The reality is that even though the Olympic weekend has been postponed to the week before Christmas, the qualifying deadline is long before. Every single pro show will be a fight like no other, because everyone wants to secure a qualification. This is the year in which I think a lot of boys come from their high horses and will be more than happy to qualify for the biggest show in sport on points. And although that’s okay with them, I really don’t think Hunter is watching the Olympics, I think his mindset is just Tampa and Tampa. That is the real attitude to do well. Could he win? Of course he would win, why should he do the competition if he didn’t believe it? The fact is that many people say he could easily reach the top 5, others even say he could be the top 3. The truth is, if a man can either be in the top 5 or especially in the top 3, he can win the competition.
Hunter eats, sleeps, and breathes bodybuilding, but don’t take my word for it, just go to his channel. The videos he shares show how hard he works, from exercises that require strength to those that are more about fine-tuning. Many people will not squat today, they will not move, they get along with the bare essentials. Some people who make the old school lifts use minimal intensity. The way Hunter trains and his general work ethic are exactly what, together with the support of his trainer Andrew Vu, will bring him great benefits in sports.
When I interviewed him in Miami, I really felt that Hunter was his own man and knew exactly what to do. I’ll give you another example, and it’s something that he discussed in several videos, but it’s about the upswing he’s experienced this year. Often, the outcome of a recovery, especially given the events of the world with Covid, was enough for some, for most, to simply suspend 2020. Instead, Hunter came out bigger, stronger, and even better to make a strong pro debut. Nothing will stop him, not even a pandemic !!
How he placed in Tampa will be very interesting. There will be a media blitzkrieg in the days before he takes the stage. Hunter has been covered extensively, but we haven’t seen anything yet. The fact that he is getting better and better than the looks his professional card has brought him is an important reason for this. It is very likely that he will actually step on the stage with 15 pounds of extra muscle, but he will also be more conditioned than in Miami in 2018. More muscles and more conditioned?
If he steps onto the stage tightly, torn and vascular and all the media fanfare and the audience go crazy for him, then he will totally own the stage !! Humility is great and everything and Hunter is definitely humble, but if he feels like a winner from the moment he steps on stage, it will show in his pose. After all, the great posing in the family is running !!
Hunter may be new to the pro stage, but he’s been waiting for this moment all his life. When he takes the stage, I know that he will make the first callouts, and from there I think you will see an ace-poser at work. How he nailed the poses, how he passes over, even how he stands relaxed does justice to his father. Posing is definitely art, but this feeling is not confined to the individual routines or the posedown, it is very much something that must be taken into account in the prejudices. I think what you might also see are experienced bodybuilders who are oriented towards the rookie. A lot of people just don’t know how to pose these days. It would certainly look a little unusual, but watch Hunter outsmart people who have been doing this for a decade or more. If he really goes to work and chops off the judges’ socks with perfectly executed and held mandatory poses, he can finish the first and most important round at the top. As long as he hasn’t done anything crazy in the last 48 hours, plunged into the competition day and really destroyed the prejudices, there is no telling how good he can do it.
Are you looking forward to Jäger’s debut at the Tampa Pro? I know i am !! I think Hunter will live up to all expectations and he could exceed them !!